Billy Porter’s Scarlett O’Hara attire at the Oscars thrilled fashionistas and depressed me, so it’s the lead entry in tonight’s illustrated edition.
There’s something for everyone (at least everyone with sound common sense, an informed mind, and a good brain) in my latest illustrated edition.
I had a post I wanted to write today, but haven’t yet figured out how to do it without violating someone’s privacy. So, while I wrestle with that, here’s an illustrated edition. I’ll start with the world as it was in the 1970s, when nobody thought there was anything outrageous about older men flirting with teenage girls:
I can’t link to it, because it’s posted in a private group, but there is a post from a 60-something Southern lady saying that, when she was a teen in the 1970s, the old-fashioned dynamic was that families helped select a husband for their young daughter. And since the expectation was that he would be the breadwinner and she would be the baby-maker, they looked for older men, in their late 20s/early 30s, who were established in their careers and would ensure that the family’s daughter would not want for anything while she was raising the children.
And now to the pictures:
Obama planted a poison pill when he put transgender folks in the military. Republicans should discharge them, instead of quibbling about surgery.
Two interesting headlines about transgender people in the military. The first comes from Gateway Pundit:
The second is at Truth Revolt:
Here’s the short story: Republicans tried to stop forcing taxpayers to provide the money so that mentally ill service members who reject their body’s sex and, instead, believe they belong to the opposite sex, can have their external sexual organs sliced off and be given hormones that can cause cancer and other nasty things. Twenty-four RINO’s sided with Democrats to continue federal funding for this surgery.
The problem the Republicans who oppose funding have is that the Obama Pentagon officially declared that thinking you’re really a member of the opposite sex is not a mental illness. If it’s not an illness, but is merely a problem with ones body, why in the world should service members with hernia’s or dislocated shoulders get free medical care while people suffering from excess penises or breasts are denied?
The issue, then, isn’t the funding question, it’s the “who let mentally ill people openly service in the military to begin with?” question. That’s the problem.
In terms of the mental illness known as body dysmorphia, all of the following people suffering from exactly the same problem: [Read more…]
Even as Progressives prepare to March for Science tomorrow, their institutions peddle lunatic delusions that will harm a generation.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to hunt down the science behind the claim that gender is separate from biological sex. Admittedly, modern medicine has made great headway when it comes to the risky job of delaying puberty, the equally risky job of giving women testosterone and men estrogen to make them display some of the physical and mental characteristics of the opposite sex, and the surgical skills necessary to remove breasts, penises, and testicles, as well as the skill and technological wonders that make it possible to insert silicon breast molds, carve out fake vaginas, and sculpt fake penises. That’s all science, I guess.
But the core issue — whether gender is indeed mutable — is one that science doesn’t touch. There are a couple of things we know with certainty: An infinitesimally small percentage (less than 2%) of the population is born with genetic mutations that leave those people with the characteristics of both sexes. Also, prepubescent children of all ages may be drawn to the behaviors and identities of the opposite sex but, in 98% of the cases, if the adults in their world don’t make a big issue of it, by the time the children pass through puberty they’ve comfortably settled into their biological sex identity. (Incidentally, I cannot find authority saying that greater or lesser levels of estrogen or testosterone affect people’s gender identity, although it might affect their behavior and sexual attraction.)
We also know that, in the Cloud Cuckooland of Leftism, we are told (told? Feh! Hectored!) that, if you’re gay — which is a behavior, not a gender identity problem — you’re born that way. However, when it comes to sexual identity, you’re not born that way at all. Instead, it’s infinitely mutable. As far as I know, there is no reputable study that’s been subject to rigorous scientific testing that supports either of these notions.
At least one brave psychiatrist has come out and said what I’ve long suspected, which is that the rise in young people with so-called “gender identity fluidity” comes about because it’s trendy: [Read more…]
I watched HBO’s documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe, and it brought back a long-forgotten memory. In 1989, my then-boyfriend and I went to an art gallery affiliated with UC Berkeley to see the controversial Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition that had so aroused Jesse Helm’s wrath. My memory is that the gallery was arranged so that one saw Mapplethorpe’s uncontroversial photos first — the flowers; the famous and not-so-famous faces; and the black and white human bodies shown, not as sexual objects, but as architectural landscapes.
Looking at the pictures, there was no doubt that Mapplethorpe was an extremely good photographer. The images were often emotionally sterile, but his sense of line was unfailing.
The crowds in the gallery, though, weren’t there to admire Mapplethorpe’s good lines and famous faces, which weren’t that much different from a lot of high-end photos that one found in many fashion and architectural magazines from the 1980s. People were there for one reason only: To see the infamous “X” photos, the ones showing explicit gay sadism and masochism, complete with exposed genitalia.
Penile torture? Check. Fisting? Check. Undinism? Check. Whips, chains, Great Danes . . . three on a chandelier? Well, not quite all that, but certain the whips and chains were there too.
I’m sure many in the gallery were there purely out of prurient interest. The majority, though, seemed to be there for the same reasons that my then-boyfriend and I attended the show: To show how hip we were and to make it clear that we weren’t going to let some puritanical Southern “hick” like Jesse Helms censor “art” in America. (Obviously, this was during my Democrat youth.)
I vaguely remember that, when I saw the photographs, I was partly fascinated and completely disgusted. The fascination was connected to a single thought: “Do people really get pleasure out of those grotesque, and probably painful, activities?”
My then-boyfriend had a much more visceral reaction. He put his hand across his mouth, bolted for the exit, and threw up in the bushes.
The fact that I’ve been too busy to blog does not mean I’ve been too busy to think. My thoughts of late have turned to gay marriage. I predicted a long time ago that turning gay marriage into a Constitutional right would open the way for a direct attack on religion — or, more accurately, on traditional Christian faiths — and I was entirely correct. NRO’s David French has been busy tracking the immediate legal, political, and financial attacks aimed at the church in the wake of the execrable Supreme Court decision. It no longer matters that the Court could have reached a similar, constitutionally correct, outcome without destroying religious freedom. The reality is that the Court did what it did, and the Left is armed and ready to fire.
Another thing I observed back in 2008 or 2009 is that the gay “marriage” problem is, as much as anything, a question of semantics. Although America long ago constitutionally separated church and state, our concept of marriage remained stuck in the British tradition, one in which church and state were the same thing. Marriage was seamlessly a civil and a religious event.
In the past century, and with accelerating speed in the past two decades, Americans have turned to the word “marriage” to represent two entirely different events: The first is the religious, or quasi-religious, coming together of a man and a woman before their friends, their God, or their New Age guru; the second is a bureaucratic process notifying the government that a couple wants the economic and contractual benefits and burdens the government bestows on those who live together with the presumptive intent of having children. The word “marriage,” therefore, has two fundamentally unrelated meanings, one purely religious and one purely civil.
Because this semantic difference is causing real problems thanks to same-sex and polygamous “marriage” demands, I have been arguing since 2008 that America’s federal and state governments should get out of the marriage business entirely and, instead, sanction only “civil unions.” Under this scheme, states can sanction whatever the heck “civil unions” they want — man/woman, man/man, woman/woman, cow/pig, man/women, etc.. Each state would be an experiment in determining what unions most benefit society as a whole, the state’s economic well-being, and, most especially, children’s ability to thrive.
But that’s not what Justice Kennedy did. Instead, he looked at the U.S. Constitution and found hidden in it, hidden behind the unicorns and rainbows, a constitutional right holding that everybody’s dignity is such that they can marry whomever or whatever they want. Most of the Founders would be horrified about this hitherto unsuspected “civil right,” although I suspect old Benjamin Franklin would have been amused.
Still, as the old saying goes, if the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, than Mohamed most go to the mountain. Because Kennedy has insisted that government “owns” marriage, it’s time for the church to let go of marriage entirely and try something new. Now, don’t get too upset. Hear me out, because I think the Left has shown traditionalists the way to go. You need to think about the stories that have been dominating news headlines for weeks, even years, of late.
Rachel Dolezal has shown us that all people, no matter their genetic racial make-up, can be whatever race they prefer. Of course, this can be a bit of a double-edged sword as the media showed with George Zimmerman. Race becomes a fluid concept depending on whether you’re the right kind of victim or not. If you’ve been beaten up by a white guy, you’re undoubtedly black or Hispanic (or gay, or all of the above), but if you’re a light-skinned Hispanic who killed a murderous black man in self-defense, you’re first white and, when that fails, you’re that new breed of race called “white Hispanic.”
Of course, successful racial re-identification isn’t limited to blacks and Hispanics. In academia, the favored racial “borrowing” is Native American. Andrea Smith, Elizabeth Warren, and Ward Churchill have shown us that, no matter the absence of a single drop of Native American blood in your body, if you think you’re an Indian, then you’re an Indian. (Actually, Irving Berlin had already figured this one out a long time ago.)
The most exciting type of re-identification, of course, has to do with sex. Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner has shown us that anyone, no matter his or her X and Y chromosomes, or the conspicuously present or absent dangly bits in a person’s crotch, can be whatever sex he or she prefers.
This ability to define reality to suit oneself isn’t limited to ones own body. It can also apply to events. For example, despite overwhelming proof to the contrary, poor deluded Emma Sulkowicz is a rape victim. Lena Dunham’s drunken, consensual hook-up? Rape and she’s a victim too.
The important thing to remember with all these re-imaginings of ones self is that, no matter how ludicrous they are, everyone else is honor bound to accept them as truth. Despite Caitlyn’s massive upper body, missing waist, present penis and testes, and absent (but not surgically removed) ovaries, uterus, and milk ducts, Caitlyn is henceforth a man. That’s reality. You’re not allowed a gracious, polite accommodation of her delusions. Instead, when you use those feminine pronouns to describe Caitlyn, you’d better mean them. Anything else, any doubt about reality, is grotesque cisgender heteronormative sexism. Oh, and while you’re at it, we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.
What’s scary is that this kind of delusional thinking (of the “we have always been at war with Eastasia” stripe) is not limited to lay people. A doctor I know insists that Caitlyn Jenner, having undergone breast augmentation and hormone treatment (although the dangly bits apparently remain intact), has actually “changed” from one sex to another. The fact that the changes are superficial or transient, and that they do nothing to alter Bruce/Caitlyn’s gender-based bone structure, internal organs, and DNA is irrelevant. To the doctor, the magic is real: Caitlyn and others similarly situated are truly changed, rather than merely having undergone procedures bringing their physical shape into greater conformity with their personal desires and sense of self.
I’ll add here, as I often do, that I have no particular beef with Caitlyn Jenner, although I find distasteful her relentless exhibitionism. If you want to have me pretend you’re a woman, and are not insisting that I abandon reality and my society’s stable social structure to do so, I will happily refer to you as “Miss.” Heck, I’ll call you Loretta or perhaps I’ll call you a cab — anything you like as long as your delusion isn’t foisted on me.
What the Left has done is put its imprimatur on the Humpty Dumpty school of defining words. As H-D famously said to Alice in Through the Looking Glass,
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
It seems to me that, now that the Church faces the threat extinction at the hands of Leftists with the Obergefell bit in their teeth, it’s time to go Humpty and turn the Left’s tactics back upon it.
I once said that the state should get out of the marriage business. Since that’s not going to happen, traditional religions need to get out of the marriage business. The big announcement should go out: In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, it’s become too financially risky for traditional religious institutions to conduct marriage ceremonies any longer. To the extent Obergefell governs a constitutional right to “marriage,” the traditionalists are taking their marbles and going home. They simply won’t play the marriage game any more.
That’s not as draconian as it sounds.
Just as Columbo always turned away, only to turn back again with that one last question, religious organizations might have a tag end to that “end of marriage” announcement:
“Oh, by the way . . . . One more thing. Having searched through our religious texts, we’ve discovered that what God actually requires of the faithful isn’t ‘marriage’ at all, but a “covenanting ceremony.” And in case you’re wondering, it’s just a coincidence that this covenanting ceremony looks precisely like the weddings of old, right down to the one man/one woman aspect, the prayers and blessings, the officiating priest, minister, rabbi or imam, or anything else. No matter what you, the Leftist might think, these are no longer marriage ceremonies, any more than Caitlyn is still a man, George Zimmerman is Hispanic, or Emma Sulkowicz is a delusional girl rather than a rape victim. They have been transformed.”
I’d like to add one other point while I’ve got your attention. Straight people, when they marry, proclaim their love and commitment to each other in the presence of God, their family, and their friends. The civil aspect is simply a pragmatic step to obtain the benefits of civil marriage, irrespective of some of the corresponding civil burdens. The Left, with its “#LoveWins” battle cry has made clear that, when it marries, it wants Big Brother to proclaim its love for them. That’s really kind of sad when you think about it, isn’t it?
I should be heading for bed, as it’s after midnight, but I’m so thrilled to have a moment to myself that I can’t resist a little blogging. I’m feeling especially smug (and tired) tonight because my heroic 1:30 a.m. efforts yesterday were the difference between success and ignominious failure on a big motion. Damn it all! I deserve some time to write.
Anything you can be I can be better….
My favorite military humorist, Lee Ho Fuk has taken the Rachel Dolezal mantra — “anything you can be I can be better” — to a whole new level:
Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.
I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.
Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers
Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:
Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.
Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.
The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.
While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.
Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”
Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.
“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”
He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”
Make it so, Captain Picard! Make it so!!!
Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.
“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”
“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.
Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.
The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.
The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.
For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.
All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.
Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.
At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.
As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”
It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.
Stay classy, United States Air Force
I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.
Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.
Here’s some good WWII social satire:
A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather
Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:
Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.
“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”
Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.
A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy
I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:
Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.
Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.
Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.
People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.
Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.
Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.
“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”
Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”
If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.
Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman
D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.
Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.
Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:
The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.
Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.
Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record
If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!
How Leftists think
One of the my Leftist Facebook friends was outraged that the Republican-controlled House repealed a law requiring meat to have a country-of-origin label. He and his friends instantly started talking about evil Republicans trying to poison Americans. They were taken aback when I pointed out that the article makes clear that (a) the existing law was about to be gutted anyway by the World Trade Organization; (b) that the problem involved the WTO’s claim that the existing law was unfair to Mexico and Canada; and (c) that this wasn’t a repeal but was simply a committee vote, with all but six Democrats on board.
What really confused my Facebook friend, though, was when I suggested that the market could handle this one without the government. Thus, I said, meat suppliers that are targeting people who care about meat’s origin will label their product voluntarily as part of their effort to sell the product. This whole voluntary thing, especially when tied with the wisdom of the marketplace thing, just didn’t compute.
Bruce Jenner may not end up as happy as he hopes
Although Bruce Jenner has opted to leave his mini Bruce alone, he’s certainly had a boob job and who knows what else (lower rib removal?) to make himself look more feminine. I really couldn’t care less what Bruce does (that is, I’m neither for or against his journey), but I do wonder how happy he’ll actually be.
You realize, of course, that it was much braver of Jenner to come out as a Republican than it was for him to come out as a transgender person. As for me, I hope he’s very happy, but I’m going to be very politically incorrect and say that I don’t really care what he does with himself to achieve that happiness — as long as he doesn’t make me pay for it or harm others in the process.
Part of my mother’s behavior as a drama queen is to try to take on the borrowed glory of other people’s suffering. When my sister has a cold, my mother calls me to say “You don’t know how worried I am. What if it turns into pneumonia? What if she dies? I can barely eat I’m so upset.”
Recently, my mother called to tell me that she was beside herself because one of her recently widowed friends is holed up in a hotel room and having a hard time figuring out how to pay her bills. That sounds kind of sad, doesn’t it? But what I and my mother both know is that this woman made the grasshopper, in the Aesop’s fable about the “Ant and the Grasshopper,” look like model of sober rectitude and long-term planning.
For years, with accelerating force as the friend’s husband became increasingly ill, my mother dutifully nagged this friend to learn how to drive, balance a check book, make peace with her children, check on insurance, and all the other daily life tasks that people need to survive on their own. Every time, the friend told my mother, “I’m not that type of person. I don’t need to worry about the future. I need to be free.”